Organizational Change - Yet Another Thought

Admittedly this begins a bit philosophical, though I believe it's the best place to start. If it seems more than a little confusing, not to worry, it will all sort itself out in time.

The following is what I consider to be the universal truth that enables me to make sense of everything. Rather than contemplating why the universe is here I have chosen to focus on how it works, and this makes it understandable.

The first implication is:

What this implies is that when people do things that don't seem to make sense to me, it's not because of something they don't understand, but rather something I don't understand. This is a hard reality to remember for I recurringly find myself falling into the trap of judging the actions of others rather than questioning my own understanding.

Organizations are typically the result of a large set of decisions made over an extended period of time, each of which made sense to someone at the time they were made, though collectively taken together they end up creating an organization that seldom serves its customers, and almost nobody is interested in working in. The situation arises because decisions are generally made to solve problems rather than create a desired future. Focusing on creating a desired future turns out to be far more beneficial than simply solving problems, because it actually tends to get the organization somewhere it wants to be.

Laws of Organizations [1] (which are implications of the above)

While one can attempt to change an organization, I have found it far more beneficial to get an organization to change itself, so here's one of my attempts at humor...

Oh well, I guess you can see why I'm not a comedian.

An intention to survey the community to create feedback for the organization might be a marvelous idea. I believe the result could be a wake up call to the organization. My thought though is not to go searching for dirt, from a biased perspective, since that would provide a basis for challenging and discounting the feedback completely. I think it would be best for the survey to contain one open ended question, "How are we doing?" The results should be sorted into the following categories (which are rater typical for a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) analysis).

Though, while it has been repeatedly said, "The customer is always right!", it's appropriate to realize that the customer tells you, consistent with first implication, what makes sense to them from their perspective to the extent of their understanding. This would imply that the feedback may uncover a need for further developing customer's understanding over time.

As a final point for a beginning, progress requires people to ...

Most undertakings get these in the wrong order, to their own failing I might add. "Know how" can only follow "Care why" otherwise we're back attempting to motivate a stone. "Care why" is the leverage point that must exist for there to be progress. Though, it is essential that "Care why" be founded on "Know what" and "Know why" otherwise there is simply a basis for more chaos in the making.

[1] Adapted from "Cybernetics: A New Management Tool" by Barry Clemson (1984), Abacus Press

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